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Marketing and Business Development Meeting

Posted By Emily Dallmeyer, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Written by: Emily Dallmeyer and Ryan Trimble

They YAF group gathered at Little’s office to have a discussion with Rob Crane, Managing Principal at C Design, Kim Marks, Principal at Progressive AE, and Nathan Daniel, Principal at LS3P.  Our session title was “Marketing and Business Development” so while we focused on how each panelist thinks about pursuing and winning work, we also delved into business development from a staff and personal standpoint.

When talking about pursuing work, the panel had both broad and very specific recommendations.  With each question that the attendees asked, their responses came back to the essential idea of knowing your potential client and your own team.  An effective RFQ/RFP package and interview presentation is framed in response to a specific client’s needs, culture and values.  Before you even put together the pursuit, the panelists stressed the importance of a go/no go process wherein you and your team clearly discuss how your team can excel and what projects will benefit your firm.  It is important not to burn time on pursuits that you either can’t win, or projects that aren’t profitable or constructive in some other way.  The concepts of awareness and reflection on how you actually do your work and learn from it continued to be a thread throughout the conversation. That said, the panelists encouraged us not to be too risk adverse, and if a project is in your firm’s target field to not be afraid to submit, even if it seems like a long shot against bigger firms. 

Assuming you need the workforce to accomplish the projects that you’ve now won, the YAF program participants asked questions about how Rob, Kim and Nathan go about attracting and retaining staff. While strategies constantly as the target audience of potential staff is changing, the panelists had a few specific methods.  Progressive AE took the route of hiring a full time in-house recruiter, while all the firms use social media and engagement with community organizations, including attending critiques or career expos at UNC Charlotte and other regional universities.  Potentially most importantly, and very resonant today, is that they all highlight their firm’s culture as well as their portfolio.

The conversation wrapped up with a few questions about the arc of the panelists’ careers and how personal professional development plays into the firms’ business development.  Based on Rob’s, Kim’s and Nathan’s different paths to leadership positions, they recommended to the attendees to ask questions, let your firm leadership know that you’re interested, and to get involved in passion projects outside of your work.  It was particularly interesting to hear that while firms want to sell their culture to staff members, they also find value in their staff having full lives outside of work. 

The overall conversation bounced between multiple types of marketing and business development, from the firm to client relationship, to staff recruiting and retainment and finally wrapping up with discussions about insights into how to manage personal life to career priorities.  The room came away with a lot of questions answered as well as a lot of food for thought.  Thanks to Rob, Kim, and Nathan for taking the time to speak with us!

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